Roland Beck, Antonio Coppola, Angus Lewis, Matteo Maggiori, Martin Schmitz, Jesse Schregger
We reassess the pattern of Euro Area financial integration adjusting for the role of “onshore offshore financial centers” (OOFCs) within the Euro Area. While the Euro Area records large levels of international investment both within and outside of the currency union, much of these flows are intermediated via the OOFCs of Luxembourg, Ireland, and the Netherlands. These countries have dual roles as both hubs of investment fund intermediation and centers of securities issuance by foreign firms. We look through both roles and restate the pattern of Euro Area investment positions by linking fund sector investments to the ultimate underlying holders and securities issuance to the ultimate parent firms. Our new estimates of Euro Area investment allow us to document a number of stylized facts. First, the Euro Area’s estimated gross external position is smaller than in official data. Second, the Euro Area is more biased towards euro-denominated assets and away from US dollar and other foreign currency assets than in official data. Third, the Euro Area is less financially integrated than it appears. Fourth, European financial integration occurs disproportionately through securities issued in OOFCs rather than via domestic capital markets. Fifth, there is a North-South bias in Euro Area financial integration whereby Northern European countries are relatively underweight securities issued by Southern European countries.